Dr Keith Frankish

PhD (Sheffield)

Department of Philosophy

Honorary Professor

Dr Keith Frankish
Profile picture of Dr Keith Frankish

Full contact details

Dr Keith Frankish
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
S3 7QB

Keith first joined Sheffield Philosophy Department as a postgraduate student in the mid-1990s. While with the department, he wrote a PhD thesis under the supervision of Peter Carruthers, held a Temporary Lectureship, and was closely involved in the work of the Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies.

In 1999, Keith joined the Philosophy Department at The Open University, first as Lecturer and later as Senior Lecturer. Throughout the 2000s, he worked on many of the OU's philosophy courses, wrote a textbook on consciousness, and served as director of the university's Mind, Meaning, and Rationality research group. For some years, he was also a Senior Member of Robinson College, Cambridge, and acted as the college's Director of Studies in Philosophy.

In 2008 Keith took extended leave for family reasons and relocated to Crete. In 2008-9 he was a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies at the University of Crete. He formally resigned his Open University post in 2011, but remains associated with the university as a Visiting Research Fellow. He also has a continuing association with the University of Crete and teaches on the Faculty of Medicine's interdisciplinary Brain and Mind Programme.

Keith then went on to explore the connections between this view and dual-process theories in cognitive and social psychology, working with Professor Jonathan Evans of the University of Plymouth. He and Jonathan co-organized a major conference on dual-process theories, held in Cambridge in 2006, and co-edited a follow-up collection, In Two Minds: Dual Processes and Beyond (Oxford, 2009). Keith continues to explore applications of a layered conception of the mind, writing on topics such as delusions, implicit bias, and the nature of conscious thought.

Keith is married to philosopher Maria Kasmirli. Maria and he currently live in Heraklion, Crete, with their three children, two dogs, a chinchilla, and other small pets.

Research interests

Keith's main research interests lie in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and cognitive science generally. His early work focused on the nature of belief and folk-psychological explanation. In his PhD thesis, he argued that folk psychology is implicitly committed to a layered view of the human mind, with a biologically realized non-conscious mind supporting a 'virtual' conscious mind constituted by personal reasoning activities and commitments. This work developed into a monograph, Mind and Supermind (Cambridge, 2004), which presented the case for the layered view and discussed its implications for various issues in philosophy of mind.

Keith's other major field of research is consciousness, where he advocates the somewhat radical view that phenomenality is an introspective illusion -- a view he calls illusionism. In 2016 he edited a special issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies on illusionism, composed of a target article by himself and commentaries from sympathizers and critics. He is currently writing an introductory book on consciousness for Routledge's ‘The Basics’ series and has plans for a monograph on illusionism.

Professional activities and memberships

As well two single-authored books, Keith has also co-edited a volume of research papers in philosophy of action, New Waves in Philosophy of Action (Palgrave, 2011), and two volumes in the ‘Cambridge Handbooks’ series, The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science (2012) and The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence (2014).

Keith has written a number of popular pieces on philosophy, including several for Aeon magazine.